Third year students from Arts University Bournemouth are excited to be collaborating with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) contemporary music ensemble, Kokoro, on a production of Into the Woods at the Lighthouse Poole.

The production will run from 30th March – 1st April 2017.

Third year students from AUB’s BA (Hons) Acting, Costume and Performance Design and Make-Up for Media Performance courses will work together with Kokoro to bring the production to the stage.

This is the fifth year that undergraduate students from these courses have partnered with Kokoro on a stage production.

Inspired by Brothers Grimm stories, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s award-winning musical brings to life the characters that we know and love, including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel.

All of these characters must venture into the woods to achieve their greatest desires. The musical explores just how far these characters will go to do so and the consequences of getting your heart’s desire. The play asks the question: what happens after ‘happily ever after’?

Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Acting course at AUB and Director of Into the Woods, Katharine Piercey, said: “Collaborating with Kokoro on this project has been a fantastic opportunity for our students to perform with professional musicians on one of Sondheim’s greatest musicals.  Working with musical director, Mark Forkgen, our students are fortunate to benefit from his experience and expertise in tackling a demanding score. 

Whilst Sondheim’s music is a big challenge for any singer it is also an exciting one as an actor, as the material is rich for interpretation and characterisation.  The world of Into the Woods also offers a wide scope of creative potential for costumes and set, making this musical a very suitable vehicle to demonstrate the collaboration of students from the BA (Hons) Acting, BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design, and BA (Hons) Make-Up for Media and Performance courses. 

We are very lucky to have a symphony orchestra on our doorstep and I am delighted that through this project we are able to continue our association with the BSO and Kokoro.

Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of Kokoro, Mark Forkgen, commented: “It’s really exciting to be working with the hugely talented students and staff from AUB’s Acting, Costume and Make-Up departments for the fifth time. This year’s production of Into the Woods is undoubtedly our most ambitious collaboration yet.

Sondheim is a giant of late 20th century music-theatre. On the surface, his music sounds disarmingly simple, but that’s far from reality. In its complex subtlety and inspired invention, it’s on par with any music being written by American ‘classical’ contemporary composers today.

The music brings considerable challenges for the actors and the third year students are tackling these with aplomb. Each of the joint productions in recent years has been a real highlight of Kokoro’s calendar and Into the Woods is no exception.”

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